Willandra National Park
Scrubby red sand plains stretch to the horizon in Willandra National Park, in the state’s remote west. In its heyday Willandra was one of the country’s great sheep stations, a small outback kingdom renowned for its superb merino wool. Today sheep properties surround the park and remnants of the pastoral era linger on. Extensive grazing over many decades substantially changed the natural environment but since being gazetted as a national park in 1972, a program of regeneration has been in place. The terrain is mainly ﬂat, with tracts of low woodland, eucalypt woodland on the ﬂoodplains and native grasses across the open plains. The reedy banks of Yangellawah and Willandra creeks are often shaded by coolibah trees. Kangaroos graze on the plains and emus roam in large groups. Goannas, stumpy-tailed shingleback lizards, skinks, and eastern and western brown snakes are among the many reptiles here. Surprising numbers of birds are drawn to the remote wetlands including many species of ducks, black swans, cormorants, great egrets, herons and other waterbirds. Majestic wedge-tailed eagles are frequently sighted soaring over the plains.
Overlooking Willandra Creek, the original 1918 Willandra Homestead with its 26 rooms, lovely formal gardens and fragrant, old-world peppercorn trees, has been restored and offers up-market accommodation. Visitors can also stay in the more basic Cottage or the Men’s Quarters, or camp. The homestead precinct is a fascinating reﬂection of the past. There are walking tracks (the heat can be searing in summer), and the Merton Motor Trail, although only 20 kilometres, is an interesting scenic drive. Canoeing on the creeks, ﬁshing and picnicking are other pastimes. The vast landscape, heritage buildings, vivid colours and stunning sunsets are ideal photographic subjects.
Group and Willandra; near a weir and billabong, 300 m from homestead; fees apply; bush camping permitted
Location and access
64 km north-west of Hillston, on Kidman Way, via Mossgiel–Trunk Rd; from Mossgiel on Cobb Hwy via Mossgiel–Hillston Rd; access roads and roads in the park are unsealed and may be closed in wet weather
- NSWNPWS 1300 361 967
- NPWS Griffith (02) 6966 8100
19 385 ha
Hillston/Ivanhoe (02) 6995 1140